Some people are living proof that anything is possible.
For South Sydney and North Sydney playmaker Luke Kelly, he is one of the many players in Rugby League who are testament to the old cliche of ‘hard work pays off’.
Having been born and bred in Katherine, Northern Territory, Luke moved to Sydney at the ripe old age of 16 to attend a boarding school before attempting to pursue a career as a first-grade footballer.
Debuting with the Melbourne Storm in 2009 and having played a majority of his career at the Parramatta Eels, Kelly has now found a new home in Redfern at the Rabbitohs.
Home it may be for now, but the place Kelly calls ‘home’ is still very much far away from the golden lights of Sydney. Having come from a small and isolated town like Katherine, remembering how far he has come in his journey is what has kept him motivated throughout his eight-year NRL career.
“My family still live there and I try get home as much as I can,” he said.
“You always know you got a lot of local support, a lot of family and friends back home and they’re proud of what I’ve achieved.
“So I guess it is a motivation.”
Recognition of his achievements have gone as far as naming a local junior tournament in his honour, and something that Kelly speaks of with sincere gratitude and appreciation.
“They’ve named a Luke Kelly Cup - a primary school competition in Katherine,” he said.
“It’s quite an honour to have the town do that for me. It’s only a small town, but they love their footy.”
Having not played for the Rabbitohs since Round 1 this year, Kelly still has a goal to cement a spot in the Top 17.
But for now, he has his sights set on the New Zealand Warriors this weekend after an upset 22-6 loss to the Blacktown Workers on Sunday afternoon in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW.
“We got the Warriors next week, and they’re going really well,” Kelly said.
“They are a big side and it’s over there [in New Zealand], we’ll have a tough week of training and hopefully play a lot better.”
Although out for an improved team performance against the Warriors, Kelly knows what he came to achieve, and hasn’t given up on a consistent first-grade spot for the Rabbitohs after Cody Walker recently moved from five-eight as cover for injured fullback Greg Inglis.
“You always want to [play first grade], it’s what you’re here for. If that happens, I’ll be stoked.
“That’s the goal. It’s always the goal.”